CTC researchers awarded over $4 million in NHMRC funding


Three CTC researchers have received over $4 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to improve the health of Australians. With a success rate of 14.8% or 254 out of 1,722 applications funded, this is an impressive result.

Ranging from a next-generation trialist at the beginning of her career to a mid-career and a senior researcher all who demonstrate leadership in their field, the awards demonstrate CTC’s commitment to building the next generation of trialists and developing the science of trials.


Details of the grants awarded in this round include:

Dr Anna Lene Seidler: Emerging Leadership Level 1, awarded $600,740; ‘NextGen evidence synthesis to maximise data utility and improve health outcomes.’

To bring together results from different studies, researchers have traditionally extracted the results from journal articles. However, often not all the required information is available in an article, and new methods are needed to bring together full datasets from previous studies. Lene’s research program will develop these ‘NextGen’ methods by determining the best ways to share data as well as how best to exclude fraudulent or low-quality studies.

Lene’s work is vital to trials research, because integrating the results of multiple trials is key to building the best possible evidence base to inform healthcare guidelines in any given research area, as well as for improving the design of future trials. Lene is applying the methods she develops to answer key outstanding questions on when and how to clamp the cord to improve survival for preterm babies, and to early prevention of childhood obesity.

Lene is also Chief Investigator and will be leading a research stream for the EPOCH Centre for Research Excellence grant of $2.5 million. This grant will focus on the aim of reducing childhood obesity in Australia, by developing and implementing optimum early prevention programs.

Associate Professor Chee Lee, Leadership Level 1, awarded $1.8 million; ‘Improving outcomes in advanced lung and gynaecological cancers through innovations in clinical trials.’

Lung and ovarian cancers are major causes of cancer-related deaths in Australia and worldwide and improving outcomes for these cancers is a national priority. Chee’s fellowship aims to develop better ways to personalise treatment for individual lung and ovarian cancer patients by identifying new genetic or other biomarkers, improving the way therapies are selected for each patient, designing new strategies for combination treatments, and evaluating the benefit and harms of treatment.

Chee’s work will enable clinicians to make more appropriate treatment choices by selecting the treatment that a patient is most likely to respond to based on their own unique genetic (or other biomarker) profile, thereby improving their chances of a good outcome.

Professor John Simes, Leadership Level 3, awarded $2.7 million; ‘Innovations in clinical trials research: From personalised medicine to population health.’

Well-designed clinical trials including translational research are critical for real advances in healthcare. John’s research program has three themes: the integration of basic molecular science into trial design, aimed at optimising treatment for individual patients; the embedding of randomised clinical trials into routine healthcare; and better integration of clinical trial evidence to improve evidence-based medicine in practice. His research program will see the completion of several major ongoing research projects in cancer, cardiovascular disease and perinatal medicine, as well as the establishment of a new model for evaluating biomarker-directed therapies in precision medicine trials.

John’s research is at the cutting edge of trial design and methodology, and his focus developing the next generation of clinical trialists, as well as on the integration of research evidence into clinical practice and healthcare policy is vital to improving patient outcomes in the future.